Thomas Jefferson Papers

Spencer Roane to Thomas Jefferson, 8 July 1822

From Spencer Roane

Richmond, 8th July ’22.

Dear Sir.

I arrived here, about a week ago, much fatigued; and have been, since, much oppressed by the heat of the weather. As soon as I got rested, I turned to the authorities applying to your Case, and the result is herewith submitted. I only regret that I had not more time, and more strength:—but I beleived it might be important to you, to receive back the papers as Early as possible. I have also feared that my opinion might be swayed by my wishes, on the occasion; but I beleive & hope it has not.

You will please to observe that my opinion is bottomed upon the principles of the English & Virginia decisions. I know nothing of those of Kentucky: but I presume they will respect those of the parent-State. I presume, also, that the federal courts will, as they have often professed to do, respect the principles of decision, adopted in the several States.

With true respect & Esteem, I am, Dear sir, your friend & Servant,

Spencer Roane

P.S. I have submitted the state of the Case, and my opinion, in Confidence, to my particular friend, Wm Brockenbrough—undoubtedly, one of the soundest & ablest judges, in Virga,and he Entirely concurs with me in my opinion.


RC (MHi); endorsed by TJ as received 13 July 1822 and so recorded in SJL. Enclosures: enclosures to TJ to Roane, 31 May 1822. Other enclosure not found.

Judge William brockenbrough (1778–1838) served as a Rockfish Gap commissioner and was, like his cousin Roane, a leader of the so-called Richmond Junto, a firm supporter of states’ rights, and a vociferous critic of United States Supreme Court chief justice John Marshall. He sat on the Virginia General Court, 1809–34, was that body’s president from 1820, and held a seat on the state’s highest tribunal, the Court of Appeals, 1834–38 (DVB description begins John T. Kneebone, Sara B. Bearss, and others, eds., Dictionary of Virginia Biography, 1998– , 3 vols. description ends ; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly, 1892–  description ends , 1st ser., 18 [1910]: 198–200).

Index Entries

  • Brockenbrough, William; described search
  • Brockenbrough, William; gives legal opinion search
  • Kentucky; judiciary search
  • law; British search
  • Morrison, James; and W. C. Nicholas’s estate search
  • Nicholas, Wilson Cary (1761–1820); estate of search
  • Owings, Thomas Deye; and W. C. Nicholas’s estate search
  • Roane, Spencer; andWilson Cary Nicholas’s Administrators v. James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings search
  • Roane, Spencer; health of search
  • Roane, Spencer; letters from search
  • Virginia; law in search
  • weather; effect on health search
  • weather; heat search
  • Wilson Cary Nicholas’s Administrators v. James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings; S. Roane’s opinion of search
  • Wilson Cary Nicholas’s Administrators v. James Morrison and Thomas Deye Owings; W. Brockenbrough’s opinion of search